Black Tongue – The Unconquerable Dark (Century Media)Tuesday, 18th August 2015
After hearing claims about the heaviness of Black Tongue, it seemed to be worth checking out. Using a more doomy and lurching approach than many of their deathcore peers (don’t expect a blastbeat fest), it does seem that Black Tongue has a slight edge in the heavy department. But that’s about all that differentiates from the bulk of the pack. If the album could be summed up in one word, that word would be chug.
Downtuned and downtrodden, “Plague Worship” does start with some promise. There is some atmosphere that Black Tongue brings in to further elevate their sound into something more sinister and dark. But it doesn’t take long for generic chugging to take over, complete with the typical barked vocals, and things take a turn for the mediocre. A similar event occurs in the second track, “In the Wake ov the Wolf,” which moves away from the chugfest and implements some darker guitar melodies that are far more interesting. Similar patterns continue to emerge as the disc progresses (“The Masquerade” also showcases some solid atmosphere within the need for chugging), which makes The Unconquerable Dark feel more like fleeting glimpses of what could be instead of what is. Each track follows the same speed patterns and ultimately becomes a blur of incessant, slow chugging with a few moments of “hmm, this could be interesting.”
Fans of one-dimensional heaviness will undoubtedly be pleased with the band’s perpetual impulse to chug. Sure, it’s heavy – but it doesn’t take much effort to sound “heavy.” What makes heavy metal interesting isn’t how downtuned one can make an instrument, it’s how one uses the instruments to create feeling and intensity, and dare it be said – emotion. All of which are profoundly lacking on The Unconquerable Dark.